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Using Soil Test Results to Improve The Land

 
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
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hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
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I sent in a soil test a few weeks ago to get an idea of what I'm working with, and how to better plan for future soil building, since I've only been working on this part of the property for about a year. Actually, I sent 2 samples, with the "garden" being the area I've actively worked on, and the "pasture" as a comparison since it hasn't had anything done except for being shredded a few times over the year. While I understand the report, I'm not sure what to do with the info (using permie methods).

I was kind of surprised at some of the results. I knew we were on the alkaline side of soil & water, but the garden is where a lot of mulch/coffee grounds/manure has been applied, so I'm surprised it's higher than the pasture. Could that be due to needing to irritate with municipal water,l last summer, which is very alkaline?
I assume the phosphorus is sky high due to rabbit manure being my main source of fertilizer, but not sure about the potassium, zinc, copper, & calcium.

So, my friends, if this was your soil test, what would be your next step in improving the garden area? I know I need to increase the OM & CEC levels, but probably not with manure. I also need to get more nitrogen fixers in the ground, although I've had poor results growing peas and beans so far. I don't know how to address the minerals, though.
Ultimately, I hope to find some strategies that will gradually improve and remain over time, instead of a "quick fix" that will have a brief impact. For now, the garden numbers are the main concern, as the pasture is still a work in progress with livestock & poultry housing and other projects.
Thank you, in advance, for any feedback!
IMG_20200221_090346.jpg
KC's Soil Test
KC's Soil Test
 
Kc Simmons
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Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
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hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
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Forgot to mention-
My soil is pretty much sand, with the natural ground cover favoring crab & bermuda grasses, then giant ragweed, poke, and wild morning glory as the typical herbaceous weeds. Oaks & elms are the most common trees, though we do have some pioneer species, like mimosa, Chinaberry, and some type of holly or privet.

I did a one-time till of the garden summer winter before last (so around a year ago), and since then the gardens have been covered with wood chips, dried leaves, & rabbit manure. Last growing season everything seemed to do well, but I did a lot of irrigation, since I wasn't familiar with the different water retention method (which is what led me to Permies!).

I finally got a few comfrey starts going this spring, so hopefully they'll accumulate any of the needed minerals that may be deep down. I guess I'll also hit up ol Google to see if I can find common dynamic accumulators for manganese, boron, and whatever else is low.

 
Posts: 618
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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Kc Simmons wrote:Forgot to mention-
My soil is pretty much sand, with the natural ground cover favoring crab & bermuda grasses, then giant ragweed, poke, and wild morning glory as the typical herbaceous weeds. Oaks & elms are the most common trees, though we do have some pioneer species, like mimosa, Chinaberry, and some type of holly or privet.

I did a one-time till of the garden summer winter before last (so around a year ago), and since then the gardens have been covered with wood chips, dried leaves, & rabbit manure. Last growing season everything seemed to do well, but I did a lot of irrigation, since I wasn't familiar with the different water retention method (which is what led me to Permies!).

I finally got a few comfrey starts going this spring, so hopefully they'll accumulate any of the needed minerals that may be deep down. I guess I'll also hit up ol Google to see if I can find common dynamic accumulators for manganese, boron, and whatever else is low.

get some big blocks of cocoa coir. hydrate it and till in. that stuff holds water like a sponge. keep tilling in the wood chips as it breaks down. if you can grow some fast growing shade trees that allow filtered light like black / honey locusts near the garden to shade your garden in the afternoon. that would also lower your soil temperature and help your garden keep more moisture. the added benefit is they are also nitrogen fixers. even your comfrey will shade and cool your soil esp. good planted around said trees . the 2 will work well together.  powered kelp meal is a good additive for missing minerals as is worm castings. add them when you add the coir. even adding a little of these things will help. once you get your soil built up you can go back to no till and just mulching on the surface to maintain the soil you have.  good luck!
 
Kc Simmons
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Location: Central Texas
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Thank you for the suggestions! Last fall I buried wood sticks/logs throughout the gardens (some rotted, some not), then topped the surface with manure and about 8-10 inches of wood chips, which seems to be helping a lot to hold in the moisture. My only concern with tilling is that my tiller is pretty small, and I could see it having trouble with the buried wood that probably hasn't broken down a whole lot yet. Plus, wouldn't tilling also make my organic matter % even lower, and mess up the strong fungal network that's been taking over the wood chips?

At the moment I have some alfalfa sprouts growing in the garden paths, and plan to chop/drop for mulch if it can survive our summer heat & my foot traffic. I'm hoping that might help with the nitrogen & organic matter %.
I don't know how to bring up the CEC. Will that automatically go up as I get the other components in the ideal range?
 
steve bossie
Posts: 618
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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you might be ok with what you have in there now.   in fall, bury the clover with about 3-4in. mulch and let it rot till' spring. i think you would be good to go to plant by then . even in my cool wet environment i mulch around my plants in my raised beds. i rarely water.  good luck!
 
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